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  • Writer's pictureScott Murray

i halved my calories for a week!


If you’ve made it here then I presume you’ve watched the video ( so let me firstly just say that, you are a true loayal as F**K subscriber and I really do appreciate you spending the time to read and watch all of the content I put out, your support literally means the world and keeps me motivated to continue putting the effort to go this “extra mile” by doing all of this so THANK YOU!!!

Anyway, without further ado, like I said, this is my little “diary” for the 7 days along with the science spiel that I decided to cut out so hopefully you learn something from it and/or just have an interesting read… BOOP!

Day 1

•Wake time: 8:30am

•Energy upon waking: 7/10

•Workout: 8/10 leg day

•Energy throughout the day: 7/10

•Overall hunger: Not bad at all tbh (4/10)

•Bed time: ~2:15am

•Sleep quality: 6/10

•Calories: 2405

•Macros: 175p/316c/49f

•Steps: 15,020

•Energy expenditure: 4009

•Notes at the end of the day

Openly admit to having fed myself very well in the 2-3 days leading up to this mainly by increasing my carbohydrates to ensure I was as fully topped up with glycogen for the first 1-2 days of this so the workout was decent. Hunger wasn’t really an issue and nothing different to a usual compensation day for cheat days although the macro capper was a bit disappointing lol as that is literally my favourite treat of the day with that kinder ice-cream tasting great but being pathetically small so I’m definitely swapping that out for something else tomorrow.

Day 2

•Wake time: 8:00am

•Energy upon waking: 7/10

•Workout: 8/10 chest and back

•Energy throughout the day: 7/10

•Overall hunger: Higher than yesterday for sure (6/10)

•Bed time: 2:30am

•Sleep quality: 6/10

•Calories: 2538

•Macros: 166p/365c/46f

•Steps: 14,823

•Energy expenditure: 4350

•Notes at the end of the day

Workout involved a VERY slow to start but really picked up after 15 mins. Very focused and tunnel versioned, shoutout to some tunes for that. Also got a nosebleed mid-way through but that was likely down to going for a RPE 10 on bench and not because of the calories hahah. Stairs were rough after yesterday though. Felt ok energy wise as I didn’t really get up too much during the day. Hunger definitely started to kick in later in the day though. The addition of the halo top pop definitely made the macro capper better and at least I had that to look forward to so not a chance I’m going back to the Kinders.

Day 3

•Wake time: 9am

•Energy upon waking: 5/10

•Workout: Delts and arms (6.5/10 at best mainly from a of pump & strength drop)

•Energy throughout the day: 6/10

•Overall hunger: Same as yesterday (6/10), More food focused than normal though

•Bed time: 1:30am

•Sleep quality: 5/10 at best I’d say

•Calories: 2560

•Macros: 194p/347c/44f

•Steps: 12,513

•Energy expenditure: 3868

•Notes at the end of the day:

Little bit of a sleep in today. Took a while to get up and out but nothing drastic. Legs are feeling it though, very heavy (dreading the lunges tomorrow already) and it did show with a few reps dropping off in the later portion of the workout on some presses and accessory work. OVERALL energy was ok for the day but again, didn’t have to do anything very laborious or go anywhere but Thursday and Friday I’d say will be a different story. Oh, btw, shocking to hear the wasted Lidl donuts go to bird feed lol.

Day 4

•Wake time: 11am (absolute crash)

•Energy upon waking: 2/10 lol

•Workout: VERY VERY draining leg day (8.5/10 in terms of level difficulty)

•Energy throughout the day: 4/10 but picked up a tad later on

•Overall hunger: 7/10 but the burrito bowl has literally been saving the day lately

•Bed time: 2:30am trying to catch up on work missed in the morning unfortunately

•Sleep quality: 4/10 poooor (3 hours sleep I think). Was up cramping in my calves all night

•Calories: 2534

•Macros: 164p/357c/50f

•Steps: 11,777 (lower again)

•Energy expenditure: 4050

•Notes at the end of the day:

Went to be a little earlier but still completely crashed in the morning. Work up at 8 but really couldn’t muster up the energy to get out so I fell asleep for another 2hrs or so. Worst leg day I’ve had for a while. Tried so so hard to maintain habitual performance but decided NOT to go for the higher rep day and as far as weight goes, didn’t go as high with the dumbbells and rest periods were drastically increased mid way through. Got home, sat in bed with my laptop instead of at my desk and felt a little better after the first meal and later in the evening but had to play catch up on steps. Almost felt like it was all “happening” today i.e. the start of the negative adaptations associated with “starvation”.


So this is what I was going to say in the car in relation to overall NEAT (steps) and energy expenditure decreasing in response to “starvation” or large calorie deficits in that, Levine (2004) has shown that “There is evidence to suggest that spontaneous physical activity, a component of NEAT, is decreased in energy restricted subjects, and may remain suppressed for some time after subjects return to ad libitum feeding and that persistent suppression of NEAT may contribute to weight regain in the post-diet period. So you may be asking, why am I risking a potential huge rebound effect by doing this “challenge”? Well, although it is true that you are likely to experience a post diet rebound after a prolonged period in a calorie deficit (a) a week long aggressive deficit is likely not enough to fully start to experience the negative hormonal and metabolic effects and (b) According to Loeffelholz and Birkenfeld (2018), this is mostly experienced in overweight sedentary individuals and that, in subjects undergoing exercise regimens (as do I) NEAT remains unaffected in the period after calorie restriction meaning that, when dieting, it is highly advised to engage in a concomitant exercise program in order to avoid negative effects on NEAT and mitigate weight cycling after reaching a lower body weight.


What is also interesting is that there is evidence showing the complete OPPOSITE of the above i.e. under starvation like conditions, NEAT may actually INCREASE. It mainly stems from a paper by Pirke et al (1993) who showed that semi starved rats develop HIGH running wheel activity. This sort of makes sense in understanding the combined effects of starvation and hyperactivity which are observed in many patients with anorexia nervosa or just those who are starving throughout the world in that, they may actually be so hungry that the “hunter gatherer” fight or flight response to get up and go search for food is increased.

That’s pretty much it though. Take home message was supposed to be that, it is extremely common to experience a decrease in overall energy expenditure in response to a calorie deficit as essentially the body is trying to conserve energy in response to what it perceives to be a major threat. This is something you know I am super interested in and was the main variable I was looking to monitor during this “experiment” to see if it actually happened and I can confirm, it was definitely more challenging to sustain my habitual routine so the science does hold some truth WOOOOOOO!

References to the papers for those who are interested

Day 5

•Wake time: 6:30am (making up for yesterday)

•Energy upon waking: 3/10 at best

•Workout: 4/10 chest day, no strength, big decrease in overall volume too

•Energy throughout the day: 4/10 quite stressed as well today

•Overall hunger: 7/10

•Bed time: 1:45am (have work tomorrow)

•Sleep quality: 4/10

•Calories: 2547

•Macros: 163p/359c/51f

•Steps: long day meant I hit them quite easy (16,136)

•Energy expenditure: 4269

•Notes at the end of the day:

Absolutely dreadful workout. Legs yesterday has officially wiped me for all I’ve got, traps, forearms, elbows are all aching with crams more frequent throughout the day too and I just feel like I’ve been run over by a bus if truth be told. Did 25 mins of Stairmaster with the plan of having a 30-60min nap later in the day but that never happened. Stress from all the ordeal with the mum didn’t help either today. The pizza was a nice change though but again, finding that the “lunch” meal is doing less and less for me as far as satiation goes, it’s almost like I’m praying for the burrito bowl time to come around all day. Absolutely dreading repeating it all tomorrow with having to go into work, should be interesting though how that extra activity and concentration affects everything.

Day 6

•Wake time: 6:30am (go in to work day)

•Energy upon waking: 3/10 again, maybe a 4?

•Workout: 5/10 back, mildly better but felt stingy as hell + cramps

•Energy throughout the day: 5/10

•Overall hunger: 8/10 especially later in the day

•Bed time: 1:30am (have work again tomorrow)

•Sleep quality: terrible… 3-4/10 cramping all over again (calves and forearms) with what has to be a pr on sleep of <3 hours

•Calories: 2558

•Macros: 183p/353c/46f

•Steps: work days = high day again (16,380)

•Energy expenditure: 4505

•Notes at the end of the day:

Stairmaster is starting to kill me. Calves and forearms wouldn’t stop cramping either. Energy was ok during the day almost like fight or fight kicking in as I knew in work I HAD to get everything done and that I had no other option but both hunger and energy plummeted the second I got home after the hospital. That doesn’t help either, stress is getting higher and higher and if it weren’t day 6 I would likely drop out by now I’m that drained but I only have 1 day left so yolo.

Day 7

•Wake time: 6:30am (go in to work day)

•Energy upon waking: 4/10

•Workout: 5/10 arm day oddly the best “pump” I’ve had all week

•Energy throughout the day: 4/10

•Overall hunger: 6/10 just exhausted more than anything

•Bed time: 1:30am (have work again tomorrow)

•Sleep quality: Can’t even remember but not great. Got up a few times for a piss which interrupted sleep oddly more than normal as I struggled to get BACK to sleep

•Calories: 2544

•Macros: 178p/359c/44f

•Steps: long day meant I hit them quite easy (16,244)

•Energy expenditure: 4786 bruh

•Notes at the end of the day:

Half decent workout but after all, arms are quite easy but Stairmaster was so so hard hahah. Work was draining af but hunger has seemed almost “suppressed” by sheer tiredness at this stage so the rest of the day when I came home was spent in bed editing on my laptop with 1 small stroll to lidl as steps were already easily achieved. Can’t wait for it to be over tomorrow hahah

Day 8

•Wake time: 10:00am (sleep in again)

•Energy upon waking: 4 or 5/10

•Workout: legs…. Lunges suck. Went for the high rep day but weights were significantly reduced yet again

•Energy throughout the day: N/A because I went ham on the food post workout lol

•Overall hunger: N/A …. See above hahah

•Bed time: N/A

•Sleep quality: N/A


Overall, the week sucked tbh. I highly regret it just from the sheer amount of stress, tiredness and performance loss which I experienced along with openly admitting to having developed a few niggling injuries in the week after (likely from being so under recovered). As far as weight goes, that is another issue, I lost a large amount of weigh as expected but as you know, did not want to disclose this as otherwise I know you’d get the impression that this is the “best diet for weight loss”! WRONG!

The weight I lost throughout the 7 days, although some fat, was largely water and glycogen and is NOT how you should be dieting to lose fat. I’ve done a video on the best way to lose fat found here – so please please please do not try and copy this as a means of trying to lose weight fast as I know a large amount of my YouTube following are after that (especially females unfortunately). Hopefully the vlog shows you just how terrible life is when you try to have such a drastic approach! Its not sustainable, effective or healthy so again… DO NOT DO THIS LONG TERM!!!! LOSE FAT PROPERLY and stop looking for a short cut!

Anyway, now that’s over, be sure to go back to the video and smash the like button and subscribe to the channel for what has been a video which took 8 days to record, 17+ hours to edit and 2 hours to write all of this…….. and all for what….. 4k views haha.

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